Monday, July 19, 2010

Death and the zombie effect

Corvus corax This photo shows a pair of birds ...Image via Wikipedia
A zombie---that's what I became when I was told Ben shot himself. I was in a world of surrealism. I was a zombie going through the motions of life. Shocked, zoned out, so out of it I could not feel anything but the pain of knowing my only son was gone and my daughter was now an only child. Something I knew about was being an only child and I didn't want that for my children. That's why I had two, but now there was one. For some odd reason that was ever present in my mind. My zombie body was doing what was expected. We had a memorial and I stood there afterwards while friends and family told me how sorry they were. Looking back on it now I am extremely appreciative of everyone who came that day and I hope no one will be offended by this but all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and be left alone. I was going through my zombie motions and didn't want to talk about it, didn't want to have to be nice to people, didn't want to socialize, didn't want to see anyone, I wanted to be anywhere but there. The shock of death does that to you. It puts you in an entirely different zone.

The lesson here is to remember this next time you have to visit a grieving friend or relative. Remember that they are not all there. They have experienced a shock. The worst shock imaginable---The Death of a loved one. The first thing you want to ask is how are you doing. How do you think they are doing? How would you be doing? I wanted to scream at the people who asked me that. Oh I knew they meant well. But really, think about it. Deep down you know how they are doing..

So what should you say. I've given this plenty of thought and I think the best thing you can do is let them know you are there if they need you. I'm here if you need me. That's it, just that. And then be there. Being in zombie mode makes it hard to tell you what we need because basically we don't have a clue, we can't comprehend much of anything. My friends---God bless them---they gave me my space but didn't give up on me. I should clarify that---my good friends gave me my space and didn't give up on me. This is when you find out who your true friends are. When you find out what relatives really care. There were many people at Ben's memorial and I'm not talking about each and every one of them. I'm talking about people who I thought were close to me, people who I thought mattered. Before Ben's memorial my phone just kept ringing and ringing, after---not so much. That alone taught me who cared and I truly value that today. I realized my energy is best spent on the people who matter, the people who cared enough to just check on me, just a phone call or an invite to coffee. I am forever grateful for the ones who stopped what they were doing and took the time to care. So if you are on the other side just make the call, not a daily call, once a week will do. No matter how small the gesture it matters more than you will ever imagine.

The zombie state is temporary and when your friend returns to consciousness he/she will remember and be forever grateful you took the time to care.
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Hi Annette, this is a tragic story. I admire your courage in taking the brave step of sharing your journey of losing Ben and your grief with the world. The emotions you're feeling and this journal will help others try to come to terms with and live with their loss. I wish you continued courage and all my love and thoughts. Please keep writing. I've found it to be hugely therapeutic during life's tough times and I hope blogging and writing will help you too.

  2. Thanks Annabel. I appreciate the encouragement and your kind words.

  3. This was very brave of you to open up and be real about your feelings. So many times, people want to sugarcoat things instead of digging below the surface. While I know you'd do anything to have Ben back in the physical sense, your loss has enabled you to help others in the journey of grief. Ben LIVED and his legacy continues when you share with others, about your story of life and loss. You're a true inspiration.


Let's talk! Leave me a comment.